The early morning game pitted the Columbus BlueJackets against Quebec Frontenac, another local favorite of the weekend Colisee crowd. Frontenac out shot the BlueJackets 9 to 6 in a hard fought first period. Stellar goalie work by Logan Davis held the Quebec team to scoreless first period.
With a quick start, Frontenac was first on the scoreboard 51 seconds into the second period. BlueJackets' Alex Cathis answered with their first goal, assisted by John-Henry Fischer and Kyle Gratz. Second period action also saw Michael O'Connell score the go ahead goal on an impressive breakaway, beating the goalie with a quick wrist shot at the net. The BlueJackets defense and continued strong play on the part of goalie Logan Davis, shutdown the Frontenac offense, holding them scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Third period goals were added by Michael O’Connell, assisted by Gabe Martin and Kyle Gratz and by Sam Merriman, assisted by James Eastep and Kyle Gratz. Final score was 4 to 1, with the victory sending the BlueJackets into the Semi Final round for only the third time in history.
In front of a very large Saturday afternoon crowd, the BlueJackets took the ice at the Colisee to face the hometown Quebec favorites from "just across the bridge" in Pointe-Levy. The "Jackets" enjoyed an early lead, jumping ahead 2 to 0 by the end of the first period play and surviving a two minute stretch where the hometown team enjoyed a 5 on 3 advantage due to simultaneous penalties by the "Jackets". Highlights of the first period scoring was an unassisted slapshot by Jake Hoffman from the blue line. Michael O'Connell added the second goal.
Second period action saw the Pointe-Levy team come roaring back behind a four goal effort catalyzed by superior passing. This period proved to be the turning point for the "Jackets" long winning streak. Fighting back in the waning seconds, the BlueJackets did not have enough firepower to overcome the second period run by Ponte Levy, losing 5 to 4 in their final match.
For most of the players, the bus ride home seemed a lot longer than the trip to Quebec City just 10 days prior. It wasn't the loss in the tournament which caused the most tears. Sure, that was tough, but not nearly as tough as having to say good-bye to all of our new friends who so graciously billeted, cared for and cheered our team just like they would for their own. These great and loving people made this experience much more than just a hockey tournament. They added so much to the experience that everyone knew they were leaving behind some truly special. We are forever indebted for their efforts and their friendship.
Lastly, this final report would not be complete without thanking the Blue Jackets organization for their support, the volunteer efforts of Julie Greiner and Angie Warner and especially Coach Gord Rivington, for the commitment and efforts to allow a team of young men have such a wonderful life experience. Without the BlueJackets' ongoing support of our local hockey programs and sponsorship of the Quebec Tournament specifically, none of this would have been possible. Gord Rivington is to be commended for being an exceptional teacher/Coach of the game. However, Gord's greatest contribution to the team was the example he provided to the boys of how to compete and handle themselves both on the ice and off the ice. Gord's ability to bring together a group of kids from varied teams and talents and hone them into a formidable team in such a short period of time has been remarkable.